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SMC Basketball: Belles look for first conference win versus Trine

Mike Ginocchio | Thursday, December 12, 2013

After their last game ended with a heartbreaking one-point loss, the Belles look to bounce back against Trine on Saturday.

The Belles (2-6, 0-1 MIAA) are searching for their first conference win against the Thunder (1-5, 0-1 MIAA), who also lost their MIAA opener. Though the Thunder have just one victory, Belles coach Jennifer Henley refuses to take them lightly.

“Trine has some very good players,” Henley said. “They are led by [sophomore] Alivia Recker and [junior] Kelsey Henselmeier, who are two very strong guards. You also can’t look past [junior forward Amy] Newell, who is Trine’s go-to in the inside.”

Recker leads the Thunder with an average of 12.7 points per game, while Henselmeier is second with 10.8 points per game and leads the starters with a .510 field goal percentage. Newell paces the rest of the team with an average of 5.5 rebounds per game. She also leads the team with 15 offensive rebounds on the season.

Saint Mary’s is looking for continued production by senior guard Shanlynn Bias, who leads the team with 13.6 points per game and had a career-high 20 in the Belles’ 90-89 loss to North Central on Saturday.

Elsewhere, the Belles will also need a strong interior performance from sophomore Krista Knapke, who almost averages a double-double with 12.8 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Eleni Shea will also pose a threat to Trine, as she leads the Belles with a .542 field goal percentage.

The Belles have surrendered 70 or more points in each of their last three games and five of their last six. But Trine has struggled offensively this season, averaging just 53.2 points per game.

The Belles view this as a key game, both as a chance to capture their first conference win and as an opportunity to break a three-game losing streak.

“On paper, yes, we are on a bit of a slide, but this team continues to get better with each practice,” Henley said. “We have been in some close games down the stretch lately… hopefully we have learned from those mistakes in those games and can continue to improve as we face Trine.”

The Belles face Trine on Saturday at the Angela Athletic Facility at 3 p.m.

Contact Mike Ginocchio at mginocch@nd.edu